Long before Missouri was a state, several cultures settled along the Mississippi River. The French used the river as a highway for trade. They settled here bringing farming and building practices from Canada and New Orleans. American Indians, Africans, and Spanish workers were a large part of the population. Then Spanish administrators came to rule in 1770. To all, this place was home.
This Ste. Genevieve culture was unlike anything else in what is now the United States. It is also substantially different from its parent cultures in Canada, Louisiana, and France. As a cultural zone it was unique in terms of law, religion, customs, use of the land, architecture, personal philosophy, slave law, and even in a skewed version of spoken and written French.
Sainte Genevieve National Historical Park is a new national park unit located in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. It is a park-in-progress with limited services; in the coming years, services will be added to the park.